This letter was written by Phebe Marian Worthley (1838-1905), the daughter of Luke Worthley (1809-1878) and Elizabeth Poor (1810-1891) of Andover, Essex county, Massachusetts. She wrote the letter to her older brother, Daniel Edward Worthley (1836-1913) who enlisted in Co. I, 26th Massachusetts Infantry in October 1861. He mustered out of the regiment in August 1865. She also mentions two younger brothers, Lewis Turner Worthley (1842-1924) and Luke Washington Worthley (1847-1901). Elizabeth worked as a dress maker; she never married.
Aside from family news, the letter was penned principally to convey some particulars about her uncle’s death and burial. Phebe and Daniel’s uncle was Gen. Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-1862), a career army officer who served as President Pierce’s governor of the Territory of Washington from 1853 to 1857. In the American Civil War, Stevens was commissioned Colonel of the 79th New York Volunteers (a. k. a. the “Cameron Highlanders”) and rose in rank to Brigadier General under Major General John Pope. He was killed at the Battle of Chantilly on 1 September 1862, struck down by a bullet in the temple after picking up the regimental colors and rallying his men with the words, “Highlanders, my Highlanders, follow your general!!” Stevens was buried at Island Cemetery in Newport. His son, Hazard Stevens, served as his father’s AAG. His wife was Margaret Lyman Hazard (1817-1913).
Addressed to Mr. Daniel E. Worthley, Co. I, 26th Mass. Regiment, Washington D. C.
Postmarked Andover, Massachusetts
Andover, [Essex county, Massachusetts]
September 21st 1862
I will try and write a few lines to you this evening. I have just come from Aunt Stevens. I have been there since Tuesday staying with Aunt [Margaret]. She is not well and feels very lonely since Uncle died. She says she never though that uncle would go first. She always thought he would outlive her.
Gen. [Isaac Ingalls ] Stevens was buried at Newport, Rhode Island, where is family resides. The Stevenses all wanted to have his body brought here to be buried but his wife wished to have him buried at Newport. Abby sent you a paper with a sketch about him. Oliver Stevens has to take care of the farm. He is coming here to settle with Abby soon for helping him take care of uncle.
Hazard Stevens was wounded in his wrist and thigh. He has a furlough of three months. He was Assistant Adjutant General [AAG] under his father.
Father has got the chambers all lathed and he is going to have a mason come this week to plaster. Everything is all stirred up here all the time. Father don’t stop for anything but will turn everything all topsy turvy. I have put your things all into your trunk. Also your mosquito bar and belt. We will try and keep your things clean.
Lewis and Luke are at work in the file factory. Luke was paid $10 dollars. He felt pretty rich. He told father he would give him five dollars when he got paid again. I guess Lewis is glad he was not accepted as a soldier.
Melvin Poor has not come yet. I believe I wrote you he was coming in my last letter.
I had a letter from Cousin Dora a short time ago saying Phebe Hills was coming to visit them this month. If she comes here, perhaps I shall go to Boston with her. Aunt sent for me to go there and stay while Phebe is there. I shall try and get work there if I go.
I do not want you to send me any more money as I can get your magazines without your paying for them. I am afraid you robbed yourself in sending it what you did. They have got their quotas full here so they will not draft at present. They are going to draft the first of October in this state.
We are looking for letters from you every day. Hope we shall have one soon. It is getting late and I must close with much love.
From your affectionate sister, — P. M. Worthley